Nam Manchester, Unit 2, 33 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6AJ – Visit Now
Christmas Menu: Ancoats’ kitchen, bar and hi-fi lounge NAM is celebrating Christmas with a Vietnamese fusion three-course menu.
NAM is beloved for its Vietnamese street food staples, as much as transforming and elevating British classics with distinctive flavours of South Asia, for unique, modern dishes native to their cosy restaurant. The Christmas menu is inclusive of all dietary requirements, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, pescatarian, carnivore – everyone is covered.
A twist on a traditional Christmas meal, choose from three/four options for each course. For starter, national treasure of Vietnam, Bo Luc Lac aka “Shakin’ Beef’, tender aged-beef sirloin coated in a sesame and soy marinade, accompanied by a pepper and lime dressed watercress salad, Vietnamese Crab Cakes served with chilli and ginger dipping sauce, or Spiced Coconut Soup with croutons of fried vermicelli noodles.
For mains, Confit Garlic Duck Leg laid on a bed of spiced mashed potato, Asian greens and NAM’s legendary pho gravy. Char Sui Pork Belly is served with pear sauce, crisp roast potatoes, soy and honey glazed parsnips and carrots, and Baked Sea Bass with a warm goi noodle salad. Veggies and vegans can opt for Five Spice and Soy Glazed Tofu, with silky spiced mashed potato and Asian greens and pho gravy.
Polish off a Condensed Milk and Pandan Cheesecake for dessert, a Sticky Ginger Pudding with coconut ice cream, or a Chocolate and Sesame Tart.
Sunday roast review: Winter is here and Sunday roasts are flying in thick and fast. One of the most intriguing-sounding is Nam’s, the highly-rated Vietnamese restaurant in Ancoats (see below for full venue review). Vietnamese cuisine isn’t known for its traditional Sunday roasts, which is precisely why this is so exciting.
A glorious fusion of Vietnamese and British flavours, meaty, hearty and with a powerful five-spice punch
The menu has three types on offer, a five-spice and soy-braised tofu, suitable for vegans and a snip at £12.50, and a half roast chicken with Nam’s signature house rub, plus crispy skin char sui pork belly, both at £14 each. I opt for the chicken.
The first thing I notice is the quality of the ingredients – the freshest, high-grade produce available anywhere. The meat falls from the bone beautifully, cooked not a second too long or little. The potatoes are both crisp and fluffy, the vegetables crunchy, and there’s an unusual take on a Yorkshire pudding that I scoff in milliseconds, it’s that good.
The star of the show, alongside the meat, is a little bundle of enoki mushrooms. The slippery smooth texture works wonder with the gravy and the meat, making for the ultimate mouthful. The fresh broccoli and sugar snap peas are great too, an inspired change from the usual peas and carrots.
Exactly what food should be about in 2021
But it’s the gravy that I can’t stop thinking about, days after the meal. It’s a glorious fusion of Vietnamese and British flavours, meaty, hearty and with a powerful five-spice punch. Without the five-spice, it’d be great, but this element lifts it into something remarkable, and it’s surprising that this hasn’t been done before, in Manchester at least.
Nam has a lot of hype swirling around it, and it’s all deserved. This Sunday roast might upset the traditionalists, but it’s exactly what food should be about in 2021: a glorious celebration of cultures, bringing the best out of each and creating something truly special. Not to mention wiping out the hangover from the night before. For one of the most original and forward-thinking Sunday roasts in the city, head to Nam, stat.
Restaurant review: Ancoats recently made the cut as one of Time Out’s coolest neighbourhoods in the world, and restaurants like Nam Manchester on Cutting Room Square show precisely why. Nothing represents the rebirth of the area better than this beautifully modern Vietnamese street food restaurant and its intriguingly-named ‘audiophile bar’.
The word ‘audiophile’ means they’ve essentially kitted out the place with a state of the art sound system to host acoustically crisp, atmospheric DJ sets down in the basement. It’s an interesting choice for a restaurant to make while hosting casual diners upstairs, but the tasteful vibe downstairs works like a charm, giving Ancoats a much-needed club-style space to complement all the bars and restaurants.
After all, where else but Ancoats would you get a restaurant serving traditionally made Vietnamese food – with DJ’s curating live sets of vinyl selections down in the basement?
The grand reveal of the new sound system was delayed due to covid and al fresco diners enjoying Manchester’s summer sunshine, but NAM finally launched the renovated audiophile bar in late October with a new drinks menu and party in collaboration with The Public Spirit.
Ideal for a satisfying bite to eat or to experience pitch-perfect sounds curated by Manchester’s best DJs
The Public Spirit is a Manchester-born company, birthed during lockdown. Each bottle sold gives four meals to those in need (as if you needed another reason to enjoy this exceptionally smooth spiced rum). There are two cocktails on offer, the Lounge Lizard, containing spiced rum, Disaronno, coke and a touch of lime; and the sophisticated Canchanchara, considered to be the original Cuban cocktail, consisting of golden rum mixed with lime honey and a dash of soda.
Alongside the masterfully crafted cocktails and lo-fi beats, guests were treated to simple yet delicious finger food. To start, fresh papaya salad served on a prawn cracker, followed by a traditional pork bánh mì that was packed with coriander and classic spices. Accompanying these was a selection of hot, crisp vegetable spring rolls, served on what could well be the best peanut sauce in Manchester.
Whether you’re interested in grabbing a satisfying bite to eat or experiencing some pitch-perfect sounds curated by Manchester’s best DJs in the forward-thinking downstairs space, Nam does the lot, and does it very, very well. Nam will be hosting its basement sessions every Friday and Saturday night from now on. It’s a must-visit trip if you fancy checking out Ancoat’s best soundsystem.